Saturday, June 10, 2023

The War Over Beliefs, Statements, Words


                                       (Green Lake Christian Conference Center, Wisconsin)

We are engaged in a battle over beliefs.

Beliefs are expressed in statements.

Statements are houses built with words, whether written or non-written.

To control words, statements, and beliefs - that's Orwellian totalitarianism.

Johnathan Haidt (one of my favorite thinkers today - see this, e.g.) expresses our situation this way.

"What would it have been like to live in Babel in the days after its destruction? In the Book of Genesis, we are told that the descendants of Noah built a great city in the land of Shinar. They built a tower “with its top in the heavens” to “make a name” for themselves. God was offended by the hubris of humanity and said:

Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.

The text does not say that God destroyed the tower, but in many popular renderings of the story he does, so let’s hold that dramatic image in our minds: people wandering amid the ruins, unable to communicate, condemned to mutual incomprehension.

The story of Babel is the best metaphor I have found for what happened to America in the 2010s, and for the fractured country we now inhabit. Something went terribly wrong, very suddenly. We are disoriented, unable to speak the same language or recognize the same truth. We are cut off from one another and from the past."

- The Atlantic, May 2022